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  • October 26, 2023 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Climate change poses a growing threat to global health due to extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks, heat stress, and poor air quality. Such threats also pose challenges for safe and effective healthcare, including through risks to reliable supply, safe infrastructure and accessible and high quality health services. Paradoxically, healthcare is a surprisingly significant contributor to climate change and other environmental harms, estimated at more than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet pollution from the health sector is not primarily a function of buildings. Instead, it arises from the ways in which care is organized and delivered and the products that are used, including from the manufacturing, transportation, delivery, use and disposal of the drugs, devices, and other products that healthcare organizations consume. Manufacturers of medical products and services, termed the ‘medically-related industry,’ thus have an outsized role in healthcare pollution and climate adaptation, given their role in the design, manufacture, transportation, and promotion of medical products within health systems. As health systems move to reduce these challenges, through innovations in the ways that medical products can be reused or repurposed, changes to intellectual property to support distributed and locally responsive refurbishment and manufacturing, and efforts to reduce consumption, commercial interests may be challenged. In this seminar, we will discuss the roles and accountabilities of the medically-related industry given global, World Health Organization-supported efforts to deliver climate resilient, low carbon and sustainable health systems.